It's 2019! We thought there was no better way to kick off the new year than celebrating the life blood of our franchise - the Season Ticket Holders!
Welcome to Season Ticket Holder Stories, Volume 2 - Shawn & Cheryl.
While working with Shawn & Cheryl throughout this process and attempting to structure this piece it took on a life of its own, and we frankly have too much good content from our interview to cut it out! So we are going to do it a little different this time - partly traditional editorial, partly Q&A. Hang on to your seats.
Osprey fan from day one (20 YEARS!) tallying +50% of games until 2012 when Shawn purchased her first pair of season tickets - you would be hard pressed to find anyone who loves and supports all aspects of Osprey baseball more than her. "Since 1999, teammates of my old softball team would gather for Osprey games and enjoy a beer together many games a season back at the old Spurgin Field on those old rickety bleachers. And although I wasn't an usher, I held up the "PEANUTS" sign and rallied the crowds several times during that first year! Heck, I even got to throw out a "first pitch" the first year. That was pretty awesome!" said Shawn.
"Shawn & Cheryl are truly two of my favorite people in Missoula," said Taylor Rush, Director of Stadium Operations. "In this process, I was thrilled to get an opportunity to really dive in and learn more about these wonderful people."
This led to the following questions and responses.
Q: Outside of baseball (past lives, or current) tell me a bit about you guys, what you like to do, what you've done, where you've been, etc… Who are Shawn & Cheryl?
A: "Besides supporting the Osprey, I have been an avid Griz fan "forever" (well, since I came to college in 1981). I have a bachelors in Social Work and a Masters in Guidance and Counseling, and my 25 yr old son also has two degrees from U of M and has been going to Griz games since he was 2 and started joining me at Osprey games when he was 6. At his first Osprey game a woman in the row in front of us was hit by a foul ball...the ball rolled to us and although he wanted the ball, my son knew it was the right thing to give it to the injured woman. The Osprey usher was so impressed by this little boy giving up the ball that she went and got him a new one! That ball was the 1st in a collection of Osprey balls (and broken bats, helmets and cards...)
Although her daughter also graduated from U of M, Cheryl has just recently become a Griz fan and of course an Osprey fan as well. Cheryl would join for the yearly "hockey team" games but finally joined me as a season ticket holder three years ago!
We have two grandchildren who are now both huge Osprey fans and they will be season ticket holders next year (2019)...maybe as the 2 youngest season ticket holders at ages 7 and 3??! They LOVE Ollie (although the 3 yr old loves him at a distance only....)
Besides spending summer nights at the ballpark, we typically enjoying playing in general....whether it's Vegas, Hawaii, New York, etc, we like to enjoy life while we can! Between the two of us, we are blessed to have three wonderful grown children, a son in law and a soon to be daughter in law, and two grandchildren (so far). We really are just two people who try to find happiness in life where ever we go, whatever we do and whomever we are with."
Q: What things do you like most about Osprey games?
A: Watching these young men (boys really) get a chance to live out their dream trying to "move up" has been great! My first favorite player was Luis Terrero....Bryan Shaw...and of course Paul Goldschmidt was a hero in the ballpark! But besides watching these players, it's the camaraderie of my own softball teammates joining me in the stands that have also kept me coming back year after year. And then, some of my favorite memories of the Osprey games have been bringing friends from my hockey teams as well to join for a night of baseball. Some of these women were also cross-overs from my old softball team...and some were new to the Osprey. Although some became "one game fans" every season, others actually became season ticket holders for a few years off and on, so I got to hang out with my friends often… Oh, and I love the sport of baseball. And the last thing I love...free popcorn!!! And fireworks in the park!
Q: Any friendships, relationships or really cool things that have happened to you guys while being Season Ticket Holders?
A: "Watching the team win 4 league championships...feeling like we (the fans) were part of the success!
And honestly the "coolest thing" has been meeting folks like you (Taylor Rush), Kim (Klages), Nola (Hunter) and the entire day of game staff...all of you have been so kind and professional and it just made me want to keep coming back and supporting the team. I was one of the original "buy a ball" supporters from the "Play Ball" days because I really wanted to support Missoula having a team here… When my son was young and got to meet the players, it was magical. I love seeing little kids get so excited when a player throws them a ball, or Ollie gives them a high five."
When asked, "I would like a quote from each of you, it can be whatever the heck you want - about the team, experience, blank canvas really."
Cheryl: "I love enjoying the games as a couple and bringing the family, especially introducing the grandchildren to these types of events. They love spending time with their grandmas, and we like to spoil them when they join us!"
Shawn: "If I were younger and taller, I would want to be Ollie ...watching the excitement of the little kids is something that brings a smile to my face every game."
It is the makeup of people like Shawn and Cheryl that truly make every night at Ogren Park Allegiance field a magical environment. Internally, as a Front Office, we continued to circle around a few key describing words/terms that we felt fit Shawn & Cheryl, those being; fun, lively, warm, and family focused. I have little doubt anyone near and dear to them would say any different, and after this, frankly I don't know how you could argue with that!
Parting with one final note, at the request of Shawn. "We are eagerly looking forward to this season with the team's new ownership (Peter & Susan Crampton Davis), we can already see the impact they have made and we really appreciate all they are doing."
If you enjoyed this glimpse into these Season Ticket Holders and missed our first edition..
CLICK HERE to read our story on the Kulaski family!
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.